Although the talk of the town is the Internet and e-commerce, few firms are turning profits -- at least for now. The shortage of commercial viable online business models, therefore, poses a threat to Internet entrepreneurs wannabees.
Lee Sang-seong, president of Pionsoft Inc. (www.pionsoft.com), a leading online solution provider, agrees: ``Even GeoCities, a homepage hosting service provider with 25 million users, is yet to set up a profit-turning business model.''
Despite the gloomy situation, Lee remains optimistic. ``In the United States, there are roughly 170 e-commerce solutions, which is a tenfold increase from a year earlier,'' Lee said.
Lee's positive vision of the Internet is the main anchor propping up his e- commerce solution, ``One Stop Site Builder.''
The software package offers a wide range of e-commerce tools including the shopping site construction, web bulletin and credit card billing system. Moreover, all the tools can be installed, modified and upgraded on the Net, without getting hooked up to the Internet at home.
The Web-based software allows users to set up their e-commerce sites quickly, a solution for SOHO (small office/home office) workers wishing to make a splash on the Net.
The logic is rather simple. The e-commerce is bound to explode in Korea as well as elsewhere and then such web-based solution will appeal to Internet startups and small online enterprises.
``All the features of the program are designed for Web-based editing and users can freely edit their sites as if they are using wordprocessor,'' Lee explains.
Thanks to the innovative and easy-to-use features, One Stop Site Builder secured about 50 percent of the domestic e-commerce solution market.
That is a real transformation for Pionsoft, a company which specialized in multimedia CD-ROM titles until 1997.
The company rolled out four to five CD-ROM titles a year, some of them joining the bestseller lists.
But contents business was far from easy. The production were costly and maintaining a large staff and technicians was burdensome.
More than anything else, the digital contents market began to shift toward the Internet as more and more people realized the value of the web.
It was in June of 1997 when Lee Sang-seong made a decision to reconfigure his company into an e-commerce solution provider.
At the time, there were only 10-odd sites for the e-commerce, offering few solution whatsoever.
Turning away from the still infancy-level domestic market, Lee tried to develop a solution in English and knocked on the door of the United States e- commerce market which was then entering a growth phase.
Unfortunately, Korea's financial crisis started in late 1997 hit hard Pionsoft which was developing the English e-commerce package. …